CLEAR LAKE — Supply chain issues and inflation are being blamed for a higher-than-estimated best bid for a new fire truck in Clear Lake.

The Clear Lake Fire Department is purchasing  a new pumper truck which will replace a 1989 combination pumper-tanker truck and a 1994 pumper-tanker truck, which have reached the end of their useful life for the type of use needed by the city. The city had estimated the cost of the purchase at about $650,000. Despite multiple potential bidders showing interest, only one company submitted a bid. Toyne Fire Apparatus of Breda Iowa’s bid was $729,010, with it dropping to $710,483 if the city paid 75% of the cost at the contract signing.

Fire Chief Doug Meyers says it was disappointing to get just one bid.  “We had communicated with seven different vendors, and after you had allowed us to send the specs out, we only received one bid back. That’s incredibly disappointing to us, based on the fact that all these vendors expressed considerable interest in this project. One of the things we discovered is all of the vendors want to use their title-specific specifications and are not real eager to bid specifications that don’t lock them in to an award of a contract.”

Meyers says cost and supply factors have increased compared to the last time the fire department made a truck purchase. “One of the things we found out is the pricing index for stainless steel has increased 50% since the first of the year. Similar metals like aluminum are in the same ballpark. The delivery time window has exponentially increased. So instead of a 10-14 month delivery, we’re looking at an 18-month delivery window.”

Meyers says despite the bid coming in over budget, the city is probably better off going with this bid rather than risk re-bidding the project.   “Our recommendation is to go ahead and do this now. The fear would be the lead times are going to get longer and the price will even be more if we were to delay this even another six months.”

The fire truck is expected to be delivered by December 2023.